OPENSPACE INSIDE CITY OD DEADS PDF Print E-mail

>OPENSPACE NELLA CITTA' DEI MORTI
The OST conferences, which are now widespread in Europe and in other continents, do not have speakers invited to talk, nor default programs. The organisation of said conferences starts from a specific and contingent subject proposed as a question which is addressed to all those who are interested. In general, the main questions of an OST conference have the form of a strategic plan (on the desirable future in a certain geographical area).
The participants to the ost conference, sitting in a big circle, during the first half hour learn what the rules to create their own conference are. Anyone who wants to propose an idea or a theme and whether he is genuinely interested, stands up and tell to the group his idea. By doing this, first of all - the person is allowed to have a space where he can meet other people interested in the same issue, and second – the person assumes the responsibility to organise the discussion and to write also a quick report at the end of the conference.
The first work session starts when all the participants proposed their themes, filling the agenda for the day. The whole event is governed by a single rule called "the law of the two feet": "if you feel that you're not learning or you’re not contributing to the activities, you may get up and move to a place where you believe to be more involved. This "other place" may be another group involved in the discussion of another topic, or the coffee break table which is laden and permanently available, or one can simply leave. What is important, and in the same time underlined with emphasis, is that in this context, abandoning a working group to go and look around elsewhere, it cannot be considered as a sign of rudeness, but as one of vitality.
The spatial organization of the OST is very important because itself symbolizes and transmits the organizational principles. The people are sitting inside an empty circle, with a wall that acts as a great notice-board used to hang the titles of each proposal with the names of the proposers and the indication of the assembly places. Also, in these places, the chairs are arranged in a circle and the doors remain open which indicates that everyone can leave or enter at their own will. In some cases, the attendance to the working groups is informal, in other cases the people are asked to mark their name under each theme which is of their interest.


The result is truly extraordinary both in terms of the quality of the final proposals and the type of relationships that are established. An atmosphere of great energy and synergy is quickly established and that is related to the breaking of the incrustation of the relational roles, duties and powers. The first Liveinslums’s OPENSPACE was held in Cairo and was directed by the sociologist Marianella Sclavi, honorary member of the NGO and expert in the "art of listening." Thanks to her contribution it has been possible to collect the proposals of the inhabitants of City of the Dead in order to upgrade and enhance the neighbourhood. Among the proposals were: an orchestra, an internet point, projects to obtain micro-credits aimed to launch chicken farms, vegetables and fruit gardens, workshops for glass and textile garbing, a new football field for the boys of the neighbourhood. The proposals of the inhabitants will form the basis for the future engagements tat will be made in the district of our association.


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